Two jailed for copper theft

11 February 2013

Daryl Carslake

Two men have been jailed after being convicted of stealing a large quantity of copper cable from BT’s network, cutting off telephone and broadband services to hundreds of homes and businesses in Teddington and Sussex.

Daryl Carslake, 30 [17/02/82] and Gavin Marriott, 28 [07/08/84] both of Epsom, Surrey were jailed at Southwark Crown Court on Friday 8 February, having previously pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of cabling belonging to British Telecom.

"Metal theft impacts upon the lives of tens of thousands of Londoners every year."

Both were sentenced to two years for each count of theft, to run concurrently - reduced to 16 months for each count, to run concurrently, in recognition of their early guilty pleas. The convictions of Carslake and Marriott follow a successful investigation by the Met's London Crime Squad in liaison with Surrey Police.

Carslake and Marriott stole hundreds of metres of valuable BT copper cable from two separate locations in Teddington and Sussex in May 2012.

On each occasion, the pair, posing as workmen, travelled in a van - towing a large winch to extract cable via manholes.

On 9 May, the men targeted a manhole in Langham Road, Teddington, extracting 425 metres of cable.

The pair made off swiftly with their haul after they were challenged by a passing council permit officer. The permit officer was able to take photographs of Carslake and Marriott, and noted the registration number of their van - which would later be used to link the pair to a cable theft in Sussex committed later that month.

On that occasion [29 May], Carslake and Marriott visited a site in Fernheath, Sussex, cutting a large quantity of cable which served up to 600 local residents and businesses, returning the following day to remove the cable.

BT engineers called to the location to reports of service problems, witnessed the men arrive in their van and called police.

The pair were subsequently stopped and arrested by neighbouring Surrey Police and the cable was recovered.

Meanwhile, regular police computer checks made on the van, by the London Crime Squad, threw up information that the vehicle had been stopped by Surrey Police.

The pair were further arrested by the London Crime Squad for the theft in Teddington and subsequently charged with both offences.

Detective Chief Inspector Lee Hill of the London Crime Squad said: "Metal theft impacts upon the lives of tens of thousands of Londoners every year with telecommunication being cut off, and trains and transport disrupted.

"We will continue to work closely with our partner agencies to bring those involved to justice. These sentences send out a strong message to those involved in this type of criminal activity and, hopefully, will deter others from doing so in the future."

Simon Davies, BT General Manager for cable theft said: “This case highlights the often highly organised nature of metal theft by persons who are only concerned with maximising their proceeds from this crime and care nothing for the disruption they cause for communities.

"BT’s metal theft task force helped the Met and Surrey police forces to connect the incidents together, which led to the criminal activities of these individuals being brought to an end. The conviction and subsequent sentences are therefore very fitting.”